cour·​te·​ous | \ ˈkər-tē-əs How to pronounce courteous (audio) , British also ˈkȯ-\

Definition of courteous

1 : marked by polished manners, gallantry, or ceremonial usage of a court
2 : marked by respect for and consideration of others

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Other Words from courteous

courteously adverb
courteousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for courteous

civil, polite, courteous, gallant, chivalrous mean observant of the forms required by good breeding. civil often suggests little more than the avoidance of overt rudeness. owed the questioner a civil reply polite commonly implies polish of speech and manners and sometimes suggests an absence of cordiality. if you can't be pleasant, at least be polite courteous implies more actively considerate or dignified politeness. clerks who were unfailingly courteous to customers gallant and chivalrous imply courteous attentiveness especially to women. gallant suggests spirited and dashing behavior and ornate expressions of courtesy. a gallant suitor of the old school chivalrous suggests high-minded and self-sacrificing behavior. a chivalrous display of duty

Examples of courteous in a Sentence

There was no doubt that his stubbornly held and trenchantly expressed views—his trenchancy always tempered, however, by his gently courteous manner—contributed significantly to his unpopularity … — Simon Winchester, The Man Who Loved China, 2008 … she has seen generations of boys come and go, some well groomed and courteous, others rough and uppity … — Julian Barnes, New Yorker, 5 Mar. 1990 He joined us in the Yellow Room with … his son, a thoughtful, courteous, nice doctor … — Lady Bird Johnson 27 May 1964, in A White House Diary1970 The clerks were helpful and courteous. their customer service department always gives courteous responses, even to rude people
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Recent Examples on the Web

That includes good citizens of the community who are friendly, cautious and courteous behind the wheel. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Exposing abuse in the Boy Scouts of America (8/11/19)," 11 Aug. 2019 Played with locked jaw and a terrible haircut by Jared Keeso, the show’s co-creator and writer, Wayne is king of the hicks, a courteous ladykiller in stonewashed jeans. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "“Letterkenny,” a Surreal Canadian Comedy to Rival “Schitt’s Creek”," 7 Aug. 2019 In both instances, the courteous folks working in the Riverview Station post office have quickly responded and swung into action to resolve a problem not of their making. Sainted & Tainted Writers, Twin Cities, "Hey, post office problem-solvers … you’re sainted!," 20 July 2019 Hospitality: Hit Everyone working at the tournament, from the volunteers at the main entrance to the people holding ropes to vendors and Detroit police officers working at the event, were beyond courteous and helpful. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Here's what the Rocket Mortgage Classic got right — and what it got wrong," 30 June 2019 Perhaps the royals coordinated with Melania Trump on wearing white as a courteous move? Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Why Is Everyone Wearing White for Trump's Visit to the U.K.?," 3 June 2019 After the new prime minister formally assumed office, European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered him a courteous welcome. Christina Boyle, Los Angeles Times, "Britain’s new prime minister sees ‘no-deal’ Brexit as possibility. What would that mean?," 24 July 2019 The courteous little cutie at the center of all the commotion is Maya Somers, an accomplished 11-year-old actress who manipulates those around her like an adult veteran. Tom Titus, Daily Pilot, "On Theater: ‘Bad Seed’ still a good chiller," 16 July 2019 Unlike Scalia, Stevens was invariably courteous, even in defeat. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, "The Humane Legacy of John Paul Stevens," 17 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'courteous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of courteous

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for courteous

Middle English corteis, from Anglo-French curteis, from curt

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Statistics for courteous

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for courteous

The first known use of courteous was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for courteous



English Language Learners Definition of courteous

: very polite in a way that shows respect


cour·​te·​ous | \ ˈkər-tē-əs How to pronounce courteous (audio) \

Kids Definition of courteous

: showing respect and consideration for others : polite

Other Words from courteous

courteously adverb

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Comments on courteous

What made you want to look up courteous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to shake or wave menacingly

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